How the WiX toolset got its name.

This morning someone asked me how the WiX toolset got its name. It isn't a terribly long story so I thought I'd write it down quickly.

[read more]

Comments (6)

  1. Fritz says:

    In the german language, there is a similar word like "wicks" which is "wichs". "wichs" is the imperative to the word "wichsen".

    "wichsen" has two meanings, first to black shoes, but the second one is more common and means to jerk off.

  2. Fritz, I didn’t know that "wichsen" meant to "black shoes". Of course, many people have mentioned the German slang term (it was posted on Wikipedia for a long time, took a year or more to disappear, which I found amusing). In fact a MS consultant in Germany once asked me to change the name of the toolset. That request was seconded by a MS developer who was more distressed by the fact that Wix was the last name of his ex-girlfriend and working with the toolset caused him to think of her.

    It’s funny what people will associate with an acronym for "Windows Installer XML".

  3. Markus says:

    Well, it can be useful for searching in other languages before setting a new name.

    Wix in german is not by any chance a sideword, a curiousity or something. Everybody knows what it means (almost 100 million people do) and when you say

    Wix tool, it will clearly mean "F*** up tool", to say: Does not work, is a PITA and headache. I would not know any stronger negative name in German.

    It is a delicious joke though, although I am sure you did not intend it as such. You can of course argue that german is some obscure language, that few on the globe speak it compared to english, spanish and chinese and I guess you are right there.

  4. Markus, the name was picked obviously years ago, long before the toolset was popular. It never occurred to me to look up what the name might mean in other languages. Besides, how do you look up a slang term that isn’t even spelled the same (I don’t read/write/speak German)?

    A name change was considered before releasing the toolset publicly but by then a lot of people knew it by the name, WiX toolset. We chose not to spend the time doing that… looking back maybe we should have. <smile/>

    Finally, I wouldn’t argue that German is an obscure language. I just don’t how much it really matters that an acronym for a tool sounds similar (different spelling) to an unfavorable slang term in German. There are plenty of German-speaking people using the WiX toolset today and I the name usually just gets a chuckle out of them. So far, it hasn’t seemed to be that big of a deal… but we’ll keep track of the .

  5. Gábor DEÁK JAHN says:

    Just a quick reminder: "its" name, not "it’s" name… 🙂

  6. Rob,  

    Question: If you don’t write in German then who stuck the German words I found on some of the Installer’s default screens?  🙂

    Just curious.  A more curious as to how to get it back to english.



Skip to main content